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Reward programs help firms collect accurate customer information

Business intelligence tools and analytics have helped companies gain insights into their target audiences. A growing number of organizations now rely on data management to make strategic decisions.

Business intelligence tools and analytics have helped companies gain insights into their target audiences. A growing number of organizations now rely on data management to make strategic decisions. The 2013 Retail Industry Outlook Survey by KPMG found that 72 percent of executives said they used customer information to support decision making, up from 68 percent in 2012.

In general, the more data a company collects, the more precise their activities can be. Everything from where to advertise to what products to purchase is influenced by firms' understanding of their audience. Unfortunately, the data that companies rely on to guide their actions is oftentimes inaccurate. An Experian QAS survey found that 98 percent of retailers believe the information they have on file about consumers is incorrect, Internet Retailer reported.

"Unfortunately, poor data quality is widespread, meaning that companies are acting on misinformation and hurting daily operations," Thomas Schutz, senior vice president, general manager of Experian QAS, told the source. "To operate effectively across channels, organizations need to have accurate customer data."

Collecting accurate data depends on the capability of front-line workers. These personnel need to be willing to ask consumers to verify email addresses, phone numbers and other information used to construct customer profiles. Employee incentive programs may motivate workers to maintain accurate data. Establishing metrics to measure how often customer service agents collect and input specifics about a patron will encourage front-line staff members to make capturing data a routine part of their work.

Inaccurate information can create substantial costs for businesses. Marketing campaigns will lose their efficiency, particularly if they are targeted to the wrong individuals. This reduces firms' abilities to bring in additional revenue or retain clients. By showing the importance of taking the time to verify data, companies could greatly improve their ability to serve patrons.

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